PSC raises alarm over ageing staff

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has warned of a succession crisis due to an ageing workforce brought about by the freeze on recruitment. Staffing gaps in the grading structure caused by non-replacement of exiting staff has aggravated the problem, the State agency argues.

Acting PSC chairperson Peter Nkuraiyia blamed the looming crisis on the freeze on recruitment in the public service in the last decade and asked for Parliament’s intervention to lift the move.

Nkuraiya, who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly yesterday, said many public service employees are set to retire within the next few years, yet there is a shortage of potential replacements.

“It is our prayer that the National Assembly considers reviewing the freeze on recruitment in the public service to allow for structured annual recruitment strategy,” he said.

Nkuraiya said the only way to address youth unemployment and the succession management issues is to lift the ban in order to allow the public service to begin hiring.

He appealed to the committee, chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, to lobby the government to allow the commission to be exempted from exclusively advertising job vacancies through the government agency in order to enhance efficiency and ensure there is a wider reach to potential job applicants.

He said that shortage of technical and professional staff in the public service had been aggravated by employees seeking greener pastures in the private sector and outside the country.

Technical staff such as engineers, architects, surveyors and doctors are most affected by the high turnover, according to the PSC. Nkuraiyia defended the decision to hire doctors from Cuba saying the hiring was restricted to specialists who will be attached to counties to offer technical skills.

“We don’t have enough doctors. It takes at least eight years to train them so I can assure you that we can never have enough,” he said. The number of Staff set to retire in the next 10 years has risen to 37 per cent, up from 35 per cent in the 2015-2016 financial year.

Last year Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich only allowed recruitment in the civil service for essential services such as health, security and education.

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